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Man, 87, vows to continue to play cricket ‘until others say I’m no good’

PUBLISHED: 07:21 24 July 2020 | UPDATED: 13:54 28 July 2020

Norfolk Cricketers in Retirement have relocated to a new all weather wicket on Hethersett Memorial Playing Field. Picture: Peter Steward

Norfolk Cricketers in Retirement have relocated to a new all weather wicket on Hethersett Memorial Playing Field. Picture: Peter Steward

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A group of enthusiasts are proving that you are never too old to play cricket.

Norfolk Cricketers in Retirement have relocated to a new all weather wicket on Hethersett Memorial Playing Field. Two of the players are Rick Critchfield, 87, and his son Dean, 62. Picture: Peter StewardNorfolk Cricketers in Retirement have relocated to a new all weather wicket on Hethersett Memorial Playing Field. Two of the players are Rick Critchfield, 87, and his son Dean, 62. Picture: Peter Steward

Quick singles may be out and running between the wickets a thing of the past but the Norfolk Cricketers in Retirement (NCIR) group has proved that age is no barrier to playing their favourite sport.

The average age of the group is 70 plus with a current range from the youngest player at 62 and the oldest at 87, soon to be 88.

The oldest and youngest players, Rick, 87, and Dean Critchfield, from Sprowston, come from the same family and have a combined age of just under 150.

Rick Critchfield learnt the game from his sport mad father who represented the Royal Navy at cricket and who was also an accomplished swimmer, boxer and soccer player.

Norfolk Cricketers in Retirement have relocated to a new all weather wicket on Hethersett Memorial Playing Field. Picture: Peter StewardNorfolk Cricketers in Retirement have relocated to a new all weather wicket on Hethersett Memorial Playing Field. Picture: Peter Steward

He has played cricket for around 76 years and played for Earlham Lodge, Cringleford and St Andrew’s Hospital among other teams.

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Mr Critchfield said he will continue playing “until the others tell me I’m no good”, while another player added the club is planning a game on his 100th birthday.

Many of those taking part have played cricket for over 50 years - some to a relatively high level in the county.

The group usually play at the University of East Anglia in the summer but, due to lockdown, have now located to a new all weather wicket on Hethersett Memorial Playing Field which was put in place thanks to grants from the English Cricket Board (ECB) and Norfolk Cricket Board (NCIB).

They are hoping to stay in Hethersett for the remainder of the summer season.

Players come from as far away as Cromer, which is a round trip of well over 50 miles, and also Attleborough, various parts of Norwich and many other parts of Norfolk.

Nobody can remember how or when exactly NCIR was formed although it is thought the group goes back as far as 1987.

There are no strict age rules but a minimum age of 60 is suggested and the club has some solid insurance in place.

Most players provide their own equipment but the club also owns everything from bats to pads, gloves to helmets.


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